Google Rolls Out New Features And Quality-of-life Updates For Android Devices

Android users will be on the receiving end of new offerings from Google, as the tech giant looks to introduce a suite of updates and features that focuses on improving the finer details of our day-to-day lives.

The Live Transcribe app, for instance, makes conversations more accessible for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Developed in collaboration with Gallaudet University, it provides real-time speech-to-text captions to enable everyday in-person interactions. It comes preinstalled on Pixel and Samsung devices, and is available as a free download for all. The newly-added offline mode allows users to fire the app up when Wi-Fi or data aren’t available, which should prove handy on an airplane, and in places with spotty internet access.

Another addition to the list is the new grammar correction tool on Gboard. Similar to the style of Grammarly, it detects grammatical errors and offers alternatives on top of checking for misspellings and typo mistakes. For those who prefer to express their thoughts through pictures, Emoji Kitchen is now introducing 2,000 new emoji mashups to use as stickers.

With the update to Messages, reactions from iPhone users will also appear as emoji on text messages. Additionally, videos can be enjoyed in the same resolution as intended by the sender when they are included as Google Photos links inside a conversation. And should things get too hectic? Users can take a step back and sort through the clutter in the following ways:

  • Automatically sort their messages into Personal and Business tabs with an organised inbox, so you can find what they need faster.
  • Reduce the clutter of one-time password messages by having them automatically deleted after 24 hours.
  • Get gentle nudges to reply to messages they may have missed or need to follow up on.
  • Receive reminders of a friend’s birthday to wish them on their special day.

A screen time widget has been introduced as well for improved tracking and fine-tuning of digital habits. Tap on it to open Digital Wellbeing and access various features, such as daily timers for apps, focus mode, which pauses apps at set times, and a bedtime mode that silences devices and changes the display to black and white at bedtime.

U.S residents, meanwhile, will be able pay for parking via Google Assistant and Google Pay. To do so, just use the voice command, “Hey Google, pay for parking” once ready, and follow Assistant prompts to make payment. Users can also check their parking status and extend their parking in this manner.

Other notable features include a personalised feed on the new Highlights tab on Google TV, an improved Portrait Blur that lets users intelligently blur the background in photos of more subjects, and a multiple-recipient upgrade on Nearby Share.